IMA now says substance from overturned vessel in Tobago is ‘bunker fuel’

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IMA now says substance from overturned vessel in Tobago is ‘bunker fuel’

The hydrocarbon discharge affecting the south-east coast of Tobago is an ‘intermediate fuel oil’, also known as ‘bunker fuel’.

This is the latest from the Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries (MEEI) following preliminary fingerprinting reports submitted by the Institute of Marine Affairs (IMA).

In a statement, the Ministry explains that the reports were generated from samples taken from three areas including the shoreline at Canoe Bay; 200 meters from the vessel; and near the vessel.

It said fingerprinting analyses of the samples were performed using ‘Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS)’.

“Analyses of the hydrocarbon discharge collected in Tobago indicates that the samples are characteristic of a refined oil,” the ministry confirmed in its release.

In industrial applications, an ‘intermediate fuel oil’ is also referred to as ‘bunker fuel’.

Bunker fuel is the colloquial term for fuel oil used by marine vessels.

The Ministry explained that Bunker fuels A, B, and C are respectively downgrading quality-classifications of fuel oil, characterized by their boiling points, carbon chain lengths, and viscosities, all of which contribute to their value.

It also noted that fuel oils are a class of oils used in ocean vessels made from refining crude oil and blending with refinery distillates.

The Ministry said currently, most of the global shipping fleet, relies on Bunker C fuel oil.

“Therefore, based on preliminary reports submitted by the IMA, the hydrocarbon discharge from the overturned vessel is characteristic of ‘intermediate fuel oil’,” the Ministry said.